Saturday, April 7, 2012

Thieves rig gas pumps

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It's a scheme to steal gas that you have to see to believe.

Crooks rigged the pumps at three stations to get free gas for days. Gas prices are hurting everyone at the pump. "It affects the budget, especially if you have to go from one side of town to the other," said driver Lee Bond.
But it's not just consumers feeling the pain at the pump. According to a police report, gas station owners are too. Crooks rigged a fuel pump at three different area Kangaroo gas stations. In just three days at one station on St. Johns Bluff, nearly 100 people stole gas. It totaled about $10,000.  READ MORE

Video: Timeline of Trayvon Martin's Last Minutes Alive

Here's an even more detailed timeline written by lawyers following the case:

Minute-by-Minute Timeline of Trayvon Martin’s Death

Friday, April 6, 2012

Eat to Beat Knee Osteoarthritis and Other Aching Joints

6 Natural Ways to Ease Symptoms of Arthritis
Published March 15, 2012 
Medications provide proven arthritis pain relief. But natural remedies are also as close and convenient as your supermarket. The newest studies show the keys to beating knee osteoarthritis and other painful joints may be through your stomach. From fatty fish to tart cherries, here are the right foods and supplements to ease arthritis pain...

Good news for those of us who have osteoarthritis and like to eat: The latest osteoarthritis studies suggest certain foods and vitamins, many found in Mediterranean diets, may ease knee osteoarthritis, keep the condition from worsening, or help stop it in the first place.

There’s a huge drive “to find natural approaches to treating medical conditions like osteoarthritis,” says Timothy McAlindon, M.D., chief of rheumatology at Tufts Medical Center in Cambridge, Mass.

In fact, this research is so cutting-edge, experts say, they’re still working on official guidelines.

“The real challenge is to have information that says how much people should take,” says John Hardin, M.D., chief scientific officer for the Arthritis Foundation.

Research is ongoing but here’s the latest on vitamins, like C and K, and super-foods such as fish and cherries that may provide arthritis pain relief:     READ MORE

Google shows off long-secret glasses project in demo video

By Stephen C. Webster
Thursday, April 5, 2012 8:42 EDT

In a brief proof-of-concept video published this week, Google lifted the curtain on their forthcoming digital-overlay glasses, demonstrating how they work and the various ways people might use them.

Rumored for a long time but never-before-seen outside of the search giant’s Google[x] lab,the glasses are believed to be coming out later this year at least in beta form. Google’s latest video shows people using them like a smartphone, but much more naturally.

Text messages, calendar reminders, video chatting, navigation and even social network sharing is included in the demonstration. It all seems to fit naturally with features in Google’s social network and other applications.  READ MORE

Maddow relays censored memo on CIA ‘war crimes’ during Bush Administration

By Eric W. Dolan
Thursday, April 5, 2012 0:05 EDT

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on Wednesday night explained a legal memo that advised the Bush Administration that so-called enhanced interrogation techniques were torture and therefore illegal.
Wired reporter Spencer Ackerman obtained the memo, written by State Department counselor Philip Zelikow, through a Freedom on Information Act request.

Bush told NBC’s Matt Lauer in 2010 that he authorized the use of enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding because his “lawyer said it was legal, said it did not fall within the Anti-Torture Act.” But Zelikow’s memo warned the Bush Administration in 2006 that the interrogation techniques used on terror suspects by the CIA were “a felony war crime.”

“As a top lawyer at the Bush State Department, Philip Zelikow circulated the memo within the Administration that said, essentially, that the Administration was kidding itself in trying to say that there was some way around the law,” Maddow explained. “They were trying to give a legal green light to CIA interrogator to torture people, but that green light, he said, was a sham.”

In 2009, Zelikow said that the Bush Administration attempted to collect and destroy all copies of the memo.

“If the Republican Party were the still the party of John McCain, this would open up a whole new can of political worms,” Maddow said, “because the Obama Administration, remember, looked into Bush Administration ordered torture and they decided not to prosecute any of it.”   READ MORE

Dutch company hopes to change the world with first commercial ‘flying car’

A Dutch company said this weekend that it had conducted its first successful test of their “flying car” prototype that they hope to make available for consumers by sometime in 2014.
The Personal Air and Land Vehicle — PAL-V, for short — is not a new concept: its European creators have been working on the vehicle for years now, and even suffered a thumping by reporters in 2009 when they showed off a mini-copter design that looked nothing like the device featured in their artists’ renditions.
That early demonstration, however, appears to have been merely a proof-of-technology display to showcase their helicopter’s new gyro-sensing capabilities. Finally demonstrated again last weekend, it now seems that PAL-V Europe‘s design and engineering concepts have come together nicely, with the near end result looking remarkably like their initial drawings and flying like a champ.    READ MORE

My 14 Year Old Son Has Brain Cancer -- Without Obamacare, We May Have Been Dropped By Our Insurance Company

My then 13-year-old son would have reached his lifetime limit of health insurance had such limits not been eliminated by Obamacare on April 1, 2011.

This originally appeared on Janine Urbaniak's Open Salon blog. It was written in a response to a call for essays about people's personal experiences with the Affordable Care Act. Have an Obamacare story of your own? Blog about it on Open Salon.

Mason is my 14-year-old son, who is adorable and funny, and happens to have a very stubborn and large brain tumor. We discovered the tumor four years ago, and we have been monitoring and treating it with the help of some of the finest doctors around. Mason has lived a somewhat “normal” life, despite frequent MRIs and even chemotherapy. He did his homework and hung out with friends until the fall of 2010 when his headaches became debilitating. Scans revealed that Mason’s tumor had grown for the first time since we had discovered it. Then days before we were scheduled to meet with the neurosurgeon to discuss a surgery we had tried to avoid, Mason had a massive cerebral hemorrhage.   READ MORE

Why Do We Pay Energy Giants to Wreck Earth?

We must stop subsidizing the fossil-fuel industry.
April 5, 2012

To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up to receive the latest updates from here.  

Along with “fivedollaragallongas,” the energy watchword for the next few months is: “subsidies.” Last week, for instance, New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez proposed ending some of the billions of dollars in handouts enjoyed by the fossil-fuel industry with a “Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act.”  It was, in truth, nothing to write home about -- a curiously skimpy bill that only targeted oil companies, and just the five richest of them at that. Left out were coal and natural gas, and you won’t be surprised to learn that even then it didn’t pass.   READ MORE

Wall Street Attack: Big Banks Shower Congress With Money to Water Down Reform

Special interests spread money like manure on the campaign trails of key members of Congress.
April 6, 2012

Here we go again. Another round of the game we call Congressional Creep. After months of haggling and debate, Congress finally passes reform legislation to fix a serious rupture in the body politic, and the president signs it into law. But the fight’s just begun, because the special interests immediately set out to win back what they lost when the reform became law.

They spread money like manure on the campaign trails of key members of Congress. They unleash hordes of lobbyists on Capitol Hill, cozy up to columnists and editorial writers, spend millions on lawyers who relentlessly pick at the law, trying to rewrite or water down the regulations required for enforcement. Before you know it, what once was an attempt at genuine reform creeps back toward business as usual.  READ MORE

Corporate Cash Streams Into Ohio to Unseat Senator Sherrod Brown

Photo Credit: AFP
Ohio will be a battleground come November, but the big money groups are spending lavishly now in hopes of unseating the Senate's best economic populist.
April 4, 2012

Everybody expects Ohio to be a battleground come November, with political attack ads on every channel and phones ringing off the hook with election-related robocalls. Even though it's only spring, corporate cash is already flooding into the state as big money looks to unseat one of the most progressive members of the Senate, Sherrod Brown.

“They see this race as important to getting a majority in the US Senate regardless of what happens in the presidential race,” Brian Rothenberg of ProgressOhio told AlterNet. “Ohio is a swing state in a couple of ways; one is the presidency but the other is the Senate.”

And Greg Sargent at the Washington Post noted recently, “In what may come as a surprise to many Democrats, the Ohio Senate race appears to be the target of more spending by GOP-aligned outside groups than the [Elizabeth] Warren contest or any other Senate race in the country.”  READ MORE

'Bully' Documentary Exposes the Criminal Negligence Threatening Kids' Lives

A new documentary shows the tragic effects of bullying on children.
April 5, 2012

For the past few years, Americans have become hyper-aware of the issue of school bullying, a cause celebre among stars like Lady Gaga and relationship columnist Dan Savage. But even with the prevalence of It Gets Better PSAs—not to mention copious tragic tales of young children driven to suicide constantly in the news—we might not feel the immediacy of how bullying actually feels in the day-to-day. With the perspective of time, even those of us who were brutally bullied as children might not remember the visceral pain of it once we become adults.

Illuminating and reminding us of that pain is what Bully does best. Directed by Amandla documentarian Lee Hirsch, the film follows the lives of several children being bullied in different American cities during the 2009 school year. All of them are incredibly sweet:   READ MORE

10 Unbelievably Sh**ty Things America Does to Homeless People

No population has their human and civil rights so casually and routinely trampled as do homeless Americans.
April 5, 2012

For decades, cities all over the country have worked to essentially criminalize homelessness, instituting measures that outlaw holding a sign, sleeping, sitting, lying (or weirdly, telling a lie in Orlando) if you live on the street. 

Where the law does not mandate outright harassment, police come up with clever work-arounds, like destroying or confiscating tents, blankets and other property in raids of camps. A veteran I talked to, his eye bloody from when some teenagers beat him up to steal 60 cents, said police routinely extracted the poles from his tent and kept them so he couldn't rebuild it. (Where are all the pissed-off libertarians and conservatives at such flagrant disrespect for private property?)

In the heady '80s, Reagan slashed federal housing subsidies even as a tough economy threw more and more people out on the street. Instead of resolving itself through the magic of the markets, the homelessness problem increasingly fell to local governments.    READ MORE

Chomsky: How the Young Are Indoctrinated to Obey

Forty years ago there was deep concern that the population was breaking free of apathy and obedience. Since then, many measures have been taken to restore discipline.
April 4, 2012

Public education is under attack around the world, and in response, student protests have recently been held in Britain, Canada, Chile, Taiwan and elsewhere.

California is also a battleground. The Los Angeles Times reports on another chapter in the campaign to destroy what had been the greatest public higher education system in the world: "California State University officials announced plans to freeze enrollment next spring at most campuses and to wait-list all applicants the following fall pending the outcome of a proposed tax initiative on the November ballot."
Similar defunding is under way nationwide. "In most states," The New York Times reports, "it is now tuition payments, not state appropriations, that cover most of the budget," so that "the era of affordable four-year public universities, heavily subsidized by the state, may be over."

Community colleges increasingly face similar prospects – and the shortfalls extend to grades K-12.
"There has been a shift from the belief that we as a nation benefit from higher education, to a belief that it's the people receiving the education who primarily benefit and so they should foot the bill," concludes Ronald G. Ehrenberg, a trustee of the State University system of New York and director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute.

A more accurate description, I think, is "Failure by Design,"  READ MORE

3 Corporate Myths that Threaten the Wealth of the Nation

Photo Credit: shutterstock
It’s time to restore corporate power to the people by blasting through the myths about how corporations should be run, and for whom.
April 5, 2012

Corporations are not working for the 99%. But this wasn’t always the case. In a special 5-part AlterNet series, William Lazonick, professor at UMass, president of the Academic-Industry Research Network, and one of the leading expert on the American corporation, along with journalist Ken Jacobson and AlterNet’s Lynn Parramore, will examine the foundations, history, and purpose of the corporation to answer this vital question: How can the public take control of the business corporation and make it work for the real economy?

The wealth of the American nation depends on the productive power of our major business corporations. In 2008 there were 981 companies in the United States with 10,000 or more employees. Although they were less than two percent of all U.S. firms, they employed 27 percent of the labor force and accounted for 31 percent of all payrolls. Literally millions of smaller businesses depend, directly or indirectly, on the productivity of these big businesses and the disposable incomes of their employees.

When the executives who control big-business investment decisions place a high priority on innovation and job creation, then we all have a chance for a prosperous tomorrow. Unfortunately, over the past few decades, the top executives of our major corporations have turned the productive power of the people into massive and concentrated financial wealth for themselves. Indeed the very emergence of “the 1%” is largely the result of this usurpation of corporate power. And executives’ use of this power to benefit themselves often undermines investment in innovation and job creation.  READ MORE

Enough with the GOP's Faith-Based Economics

Photo Credit: Bête à Bon-Dieu
Some politicians believe that less regulation, spending and taxes will help the economy -- this belief comes from a longstanding blind faith in the so-called "free market."
April 3, 2012

"I will do all I can to help you," Montague answered. "And you must be very severe with me," Lucy continued, "and not let me spend too much money, or make any blunders. That was the way [former business advisor] Mr. Holmes used to do, and since he is dead, I have positively been afraid to trust myself about."

-Upton Sinclair, "The Moneychangers"

From Ron Paul to Mitt Romney, politicians consistently employ their own framing of why the economy is performing poorly, and thus, promote a consistent remedy for how to improve it. Government doesn't need to do more, they contend, it needs to do less - less regulating, less spending, less taxing. They believe in these solutions, I argue, not necessarily because of some secret allegiance to the rich, but because of their longstanding blind faith in the ability of the so-called "free market" to correct economic problems on its own.

During a recent appearance on The Daily Show, the libertarian Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) championed the need for free-floating interest rates by analogizing interest rate movements to the human body's production of insulin.[1] That such a complex economic process could be equated with an automatic physiological process was not at all accidental. Just as though it were a natural science, free-marketers firmly believe in capitalism's ability to self-correct. Government, they argue, will only mess up (or, as they like to say, "distort") this process. This is precisely what Ronald Reagan was intimating when he famously declared, "Government is not the solution to our problems, government is the problem."

The Myth of Self-Correction  

The Root of the Conservative War on Contraception Comes From a Deep-seated Anxiety

Photo Credit: Shutterstock/imahe
The new GOP code word this year is "dependency," and they're afraid of it for a few different reasons.
April 4, 2012

Liberals have documented the existence of a bitter Republican campaign against women’s health and freedom, but I don’t think we’ve identified its cause or its full intent. It may be hurting Republicans almost as much as it’s hurting women: New Gallup poll data released Monday found that Obama leads Romney 51 percent to 42 percent among registered voters in 12 swing states. Last month he trailed the Republican by 2 points. The change is due to a sharp shift among women: Obama now leads Romney among women under the age of 50 by 30 points; that lead was 5 points in February.

Some panicked Republicans insist crafty Democrats are the ones playing the culture wars, but we’ve debunked that: Democrats didn’t make the GOP presidential field back “personhood” laws that would criminalize some forms of birth control. They didn’t force the newly elected House GOP to make defunding Planned Parenthood their first legislative goal. And they didn’t propose the Blunt Amendment that would have allowed employers to withhold health insurance coverage not only for contraception, but for any treatment they disapproved of — or make every Republican senator vote for it, except the outgoing Olympia Snowe.  READ MORE

Spanish General Strike Takes Aim at Austerity

Protesters from Spain's M15 movement march for
economic policy change.
Photo Credit: Peter Scholz /
Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards came out in a show of force last Thursday to protest reforms that are expected to make it easier for employers to fire workers.
April 2, 2012

Last Thursday, people across Spain made a show of force in a general strike, at a scale ranging from the government estimate of 800,000 to the 4 million claimed by the unions. It was timed to challenge new reforms that are expected to make it easier for employers to fire workers, dealing a blow to organized labor.
The 15M movement, which began with occupations in the central squares of cities around the country last year, played an important role in the strike’s success. Despite ongoing conflicts between the largest unions and 15M, several weeks ago the movement’s key organizations — including neighborhood assemblies, Democracia Real YaYo No Pago and the Platform of People Affected by the Mortgage (PAH) — announced their support for the general strike and started working to make it a success.   READ MORE

Meet Bahrain’s Best Friend in Congress

Eni Faleomavaega is on a paid trip to Bahrain this week, part of a year-long friendship the congressman has developed with the Gulf nation.
April 4, 2012

Last year, as the government of Bahrain violently suppressed an Arab Spring protest movement, an unlikely champion of the small Gulf nation emerged on Capitol Hill in Washington: Democratic Rep. Eni Faleomavaega, the delegate from American Samoa.
Faleomavaega, who has been a non-voting delegate in Congress since 1989 and is now the third-ranking Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, typically focuses on more local matters: the tuna industry, Pacific Islands affairs and securing federal funding for American Samoa.
But this week he is taking a trip to Bahrain, his second in the past year, both paid by the Bahraini government. It's part of a year-long friendship the congressman has developed with the Gulf nation.

Reality Check: Effective U.S. Corporate Tax Rate Much Lower Than Most Other Developed Nations

Republicans have been kvetching today about the fact that, as of Sunday, the U.S. will have the highest statutory corporate tax rate in the world following a scheduled cut in Japan’s corporate tax. “The United States is a world leader in countless ways. ‘World’s Highest Taxes’ is a title we shouldgive up as soon as possible,” wrote Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) in a Fox News op-ed.

This isn’t an April Fool’s Day joke; as of April 1, the United States of America will have reached the inauspicious position of having the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in a statement “I want America to be number one in many things, but having the highest corporate tax rate is definitely not one of them.”

This is constant refrain from Republicans, who then blame the supposedly high U.S. corporate tax rate for discouraging job creation. But as we’ve noted time and time again, while the U.S. has a high statutory corporate tax rate (meaning the rate on paper), U.S. corporations actually pay incredibly low taxes due to the ever-proliferating loopholes, credits, and deductions in the tax code and the use of overseas tax havens.
U.S. corporate taxes that were actually paid (the effective rate) fell to a 40 year low of 12.1 percent in fiscal year 2011, despite corporate profits rebounding to their pre-Great Recession heights. The U.S. both taxes its corporations less and raises less in revenue from corporate taxes than its foreign competitors:

A World Without UNRWA?

UNRWA, the agency that assists Palestinian refugees, has come under sustained attack from the Israeli government.
April 5, 2012

With the world media focusing on the crisis in Syria, it has been forgotten that Syria is home to some 400,000 Palestinian refugees.  This includes 14,000 Palestinians who inhabit a refugee camp in the bombarded city of Homs, and who rely on UNRWA, the UN Agency tasked with assisting Palestinian refugees, for their daily needs.
Hamas’s recent condemnation of the Assad regime is unlikely to endear it to the Syrian government, but in fact over the years Syria has treated the Palestinians relatively well, if one compares the way Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt have treated their Palestinian refugee communities. Moreover, unlike Israel, Syria has never threatened the UN Agency or plotted its demise, a move that could precipitate a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions.
The most recent Israeli threats against UNRWA include an attack by Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon, that blamed the Agency for perpetuating the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  In conjunction with a PR firm and the right-wing, US-based StandWithUs organization, Ayalon has created a series of videos on YouTube that attempt to promote Israel’s image and spin the history of the conflict.  His most recent video is on Palestinian refugees.  Ayalon proposes that UNRWA be dismantled and blames it for prolonging the refugee issue and the conflict.  Instead, he proposes that Palestinian refugees be placed under the UNHCR’s mandate. In fact, however, the primary reason why UNRWA still exists is due to Israel’s consistent rejection of UN General Assembly resolution 194 (III) calling for the right of refugees to return and compensation.  

Here Is Germany: World War 2 Propaganda Documentary Film

This maybe a propaganda film but there are plenty of "takeaways" for Americans who are familiar with how we were misled into war etc.,  ponder those informative takeaways about unquestioned authority.  allowing the same people who ruined things to remain in control among other tings.  Watch it and think.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The 99 Percent Spring: The People Are Not Powerless

The 99 percent spring will energize the Occupy
movement. (photo: 99 Percent Spring)
By Chuck Collins, OtherWords
03 April 12

n the coming weeks, millions of Americans will take to the streets as part of the "99 percent spring," echoing last year's "Arab Spring.".

At the root of this discontent are the extreme inequalities of income, wealth, and opportunity that have emerged over the last four decades.

The richest 1 percent now owns over 36 percent of all the wealth in the United States. That's more than the net worth of the bottom 95 percent combined. This 1 percent has pocketed almost all of the wealth gains of the last decade.

In 2010, the 1 percent earned 21 percent of all income, up from only 8 percent in mid-1970s. The 400 wealthiest individuals on the Forbes 400 list have more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans.
These trends among the 1 percent are bad for the rest of us. Concentrated wealth translates into political clout - the power to use campaign contributions to rent politicians and tilt the rules of the economy in their favor.  READ MORE

James Murdoch Steps Down As BSkyB Chairman

James Murdoch has resigned as chief executive
and chairman at BSkyB.
(photo: Miguel Villagran/Getty Images)
By Dan Sabbagh and Dominic Rushe, Guardian UK
03 April 12

Rupert Murdoch's son quits as chairman of UK pay-tv giant to avoid becoming a 'lightning rod' for the phone-hacking scandal.

ames Murdoch, once thought of as corporate heir apparent to his father Rupert, is stepping down as chairman of BSkyB after concluding it would be too damaging to stay on and risk a critical verdict from a British parliamentary inquiry into phone hacking.

The 39-year-old, who has been chief executive and then chairman since 2003, said he was leaving the company "as attention continues to be paid to past events at News International", News Corporation's scandal-hit UK newspaper division.

By stepping down, it will mean that no Murdoch occupies a top position at the satellite broadcaster for the first time in years.

Murdoch's decision to quit at this point has surprised friends, given that only a few weeks earlier he resolved to stay on at Sky, despite relocating to New York and having given up his job as executive chairman of News International.

In a statement, the board of BSkyB, which is controlled by News Corporation through a 39.1% stake, said James Murdoch would continue as a non-executive director. He will be succeeded by Nicholas Ferguson.  READ MORE

GOP Five Like Stripping Americans

The Supreme Court has authorized the police to
conduct strip searches after any arrest.
(photo: Ken Light)
By Robert Parry, Consortium News
03 April 12

ast week, the five Republican partisans who control the U.S. Supreme Court were all about protecting American "liberties" against the threat of compulsory broccoli purchases. This week, they are defending the rights of prison guards to strip search a nun arrested in an anti-war protest or a black guy who got nabbed by mistake for not paying a fine that he had actually paid.

But the Court's strip-search ruling on Monday was more about the future than the past. One could almost see the GOP Five rubbing their hands together at the prospect of mass strip searches of young men and women arrested for challenging corporate greed in Occupy protests. Perhaps the justices would like to take a page from Rush Limbaugh's playbook and suggest the videos be posted online so they could watch.
"Every detainee who will be admitted to the general population may be required to undergo a close visual inspection while undressed," wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy for the Republican majority.

Of course, the justices don't expect that they and their powerful friends would ever be subjected to such humiliation. That's more for the lesser beings - or those with lesser money - especially those who find themselves disproportionately tossed into America's massive prison system: the poor, the minorities and the protesters.  READ MORE

Rachel Maddow: How America's Security-Industrial Complex Went Insane

If no one knows if our security-industrial complex is making us safer, why have we built it? Why are we still building it, at breakneck speed?
April 3, 2012

The following is an excerpt from Rachel Maddow's new book, "Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power," published by Crown Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. 

In the little town where I live in Hampshire County, Massachusetts, we now have a “Public Safety Complex” around the corner from what used to be our hokey Andy Griffith–esque fire station. In the cascade of post-9/11 Homeland Security money in the first term of the George W. Bush administration, our town’s share of the loot bought us a new fire truck—one that turned out to be a few feet longer than the garage where the town kept our old fire truck. So then we got some more Homeland money to build something big enough to house the new truck. In homage to the origin of the funding, the local auto detailer airbrushed on the side of the new truck a patriotic tableau of a billowing flaglike banner, a really big bald eagle, and the burning World Trade Center towers.

The American taxpayers’ investment in my town’s security didn’t stop at the new safety complex. I can see further fruit of those Homeland dollars just beyond my neighbor’s back fence. While most of us in town depend on well water, there are a few houses that for the past decade or so have been hooked up to a municipal water supply. And when I say “a few,” I mean a few: I think there are seven houses on municipal water. Around the time we got our awesome giant new fire truck, we also got a serious security upgrade to that town water system. Its tiny pump house is about the size of two phone booths and accessible by a dirt driveway behind my neighbor’s back lot.   READ MORE

New Document Shows Romney Backed Cap-And-Trade Back In 2003

By Susie Madrak 

Here's Mittens, back in 2007.
From Grist, further evidence that Mitt "Etch-A-Sketch" Romney is/was the the moderate, Northeastern Republican that haunts the dreams of the party's extreme fringe — otherwise known as the Republican leadership. Now, while I'm always happy to catch a Republican with his ideological pants down, in this case, it may not work to the Democrats' advantage. Because the more moderate Mittens appears in the eyes of the true believers, the more pressure there will be to pair him with an extremist personality like Paul Ryan or Eric Cantor to excite their base and get them to turn out:

A new document has surfaced [PDF] showing Mitt Romney’s strong support for regulating carbon dioxide in 2003, when he called cap-and-trade “an effective approach” to combating global warming.

The comments were made in a letter from Romney to New York Gov. George Pataki (R) about a regional cooperative system for regulating greenhouse gases. In the letter, Romney agreed with Pataki on the need to “reduce the power plant pollution that is harming our climate.”But today, in trying to align himself with conservative political backlash against climate science, Romney says “we don’t know” whether humans are warming the planet, and that doing something about the problem “is not the right course for us.”
Here’s the full letter [PDF] from Romney to Pataki:

The Feds Are Circling Around White-Supremacist Godfather Tom Metzger

Posted: 04 Apr 2012 07:00 AM PDT

You may remember those arrests back in 2009 of three leading white supremacists — Robert Joos, and Dennis and Daniel Mahon— for the 2004 bombing of the racial-diversity office of Scottsdale, Arizona, that seriously injured the office's director and inflicted wounds on two other people. Even though the trail had seemingly gone cold, dogged investigators finally ran these domestic terrorists to ground.

Now it appears that the investigators' relentlessness is about to bring down one of the nation's most prominent white supremacists, according to the SPLC's Bill Morlin:   READ MORE

2.4 million human trafficking victims around the world at any given time: U.N.

A woman sits outside the South African Parliament on
September 21, 2011 in Cape Town, demonstrating
against human trafficking and calling for the adoption
of the South African Prevention and Combating in
Trafficking in Persons (TIP) bill.
$32 billion is being earned every year by unscrupulous criminals running human trafficking networks

Wednesday, April 4, 2012, 12:01 AM

The U.N. crime-fighting office said Tuesday that 2.4 million people across the globe are victims of human trafficking at any one time, and 80 percent of them are being exploited as sexual slaves.

Yuri Fedotov, the head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, told a daylong General Assembly meeting on trafficking that 17 percent are trafficked to perform forced labor, including in homes and sweat shops.

He said $32 billion is being earned every year by unscrupulous criminals running human trafficking networks, and two out of every three victims are women.

Fighting these criminals "is a challenge of extraordinary proportions," Fedotov said.

"At any one time, 2.4 million people suffer the misery of this humiliating and degrading crime," he said.

According to Fedotov's Vienna-based office, only one out of 100 victims of trafficking is ever rescued.

Fedotov called for coordinated local, regional and international responses that balance "progressive and proactive law enforcement" with actions that combat "the market forces driving human trafficking in many destination countries."  READ MORE

Monday, April 2, 2012

George Zimmerman’s Gun: A Popular Choice for Concealed Carry

Wikimedia Commons
A Kel-Tec PF-9 9mm pistol, the same model used by
George Zimmerman in the shooting of Florida teen
Trayvon Martin.
Little is known about the short time between Trayvon Martin's initial confrontation with George Zimmerman and his death. But the weapon Zimmerman was carrying is typical for the type of self defense he has claimed.

As the controversy surrounding the shooting death of Trayvon Martin continues, relatively little has come out about the weapon in question. Even less is known about how it was used and at what point George Zimmerman decided to fire it.
According to a Orlando Sentinel report on Monday, police said a single shot was fired as Martin pounded on Zimmerman while the two were fighting, and the bullet hit Martin in the chest. According to a police report, Zimmerman said he had shot Martin and was still armed. An officer found his weapon, a black Kel-Tec PF-9 9mm semi-automatic pistol, in a holster placed on his waistband. As Zimmerman was taken for questioning, the gun was taken from him and placed in police evidence. Demonstrators have demanded that Zimmerman’s gun license be revoked, but state statutes prohibit revealing the status of his permit.



Also of great interest is this Mother Jones article:
The Trayvon Martin Killing, Explained

Complete timelines,  explanation of related cases and history of "stand your ground"
makes for some very interesting reading.

One thing is absolutely clear:  "Stand your ground" Laws need to be made illegal nationally!
They unfairly shift the burden of proof onto the dead who cannot defend themselves and they corrupt the processes of law already in place.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Trayvon Martin case 911 call: Screams not George Zimmerman's, 2 experts say

By staff

Updated at 2 p.m. ET: The voice heard crying for help on a 911 call just before Trayvon Martin was shot to death was not that of George Zimmerman, according to two forensic voice identification experts, one of whom told MSNBC on Sunday that he believes the evidence is strong enough to use in court.

"The tests concluded that it's not the voice of Mr. Zimmerman," Tom Owen, of Owen Forensic Services LLC and chair emeritus for the American Board of Recorded Evidence, told MSNBC.
Asked if he thought such tests would be admissible in court, Owen said "yes" and noted he had recently used similar testing in testimony at a Connecticut murder case that involved 911 call.   READ MORE

Neighbors Spying on You? New Program Spreading Across the US Takes Neighborhood Watch to Scary New Level

Suspicious Activity Reporting asks citizens to keep an eye out on their neighbors -- but the results could be terrible.
March 31, 2012

Crime in Los Angeles is a gritty enterprise, and donning an LAPD badge has historically involved getting your hands dirty. Long before the New York Police Department was spying on Muslim students, the LAPD was running a large-scale domestic spy operation in the 1970s and ’80s, snooping on and infiltrating more than 200 political, labor and civic organizations including the office of then Mayor Tom Bradley. Today, the LAPD isn’t quite so aggressive, but it still employs a directive titled Special Order 1, which permits police officers to deem what is “suspicious” and then act on it.

SO 1 enables LAPD officers to file Suspicious Activity Reports on observed behaviors or activities. Where things get murky, however, is how SAR guidelines categorize constitutionally protected, non-criminal and commonplace activities such as using binoculars, snapping photographs and taking notes as indicators of terrorism-related activity. The SARs are coupled with the LAPD’s iWatch program, a campaign the police pioneered to encourage regular citizens to report “suspicious” activity, including “a person wearing clothes that are too big or too hot for the weather,” or things that just plain old don’t “look right.”

Far from being merely a local phenomenon, the standardized program that the LAPD developed in 2008 served as the lead model for a National Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative. “Success” stories from the LAPD’s program are used in national training material, and the LAPD touts it as “the first program in the U.S. to create a national standard” for terrorism-related procedures.

It's Not Just Trayvon: 9 Other Cases That Prove People of Color Can't Safely Walk the Streets of America

Lynchings and racist murders didn't end with the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Even in 2012, people of color can't walk in safety in many parts of the country.
March 29, 2012

The death of Trayvon Martin has lit up the media for much of the past month. While there's a certain degree of added tragedy due to Martin's age, people of all ages have good reason to fear vigilantism and police brutality in the United States. It's worth noting that despite nearly 200 attempts, a federal anti-lynching law was never passed in the United States. Further, Florida's controversial "stand your ground" law, and others like it, have led to what is essentially legalized murder in several areas of the country.
Lynchings and racist murders didn't end with the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Even in the 21st century, people of color can't walk in safety in many parts of the country. Here are several cases that illustrate this sad truth.
1. Bernard Goetz    READ MORE

Should People and Governments Shun the Totalitarian Catholic Church?

When a totalitarian regime aids and abets the rape of tens of thousands of children one would expect it to be shunned by governments and citizens alike.
January 5, 2012

When a totalitarian regime aids and abets the rape of tens of thousands of children one would expect it to be shunned by governments and citizens alike. And any statements it might issue on matters of morality accorded no respect.

Why should we make an exception when the regime is the Catholic Church?

That the Roman Catholic Church is totalitarian is undeniable. Church law itself makes this clear. Canon 331 declares the Pope “the head of the college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ, and the pastor of the universal Church on earth. By virtue of his office he possesses supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely.”

Canon 333 emphasizes the remarkable power this institution endows in one man, “No appeal or recourse is permitted against a sentence or decree of the Roman Pontiff.”

And whenever the Pope chooses he can issue decrees related to faith and morals that not only have the power of law but must be considered irrefutable, at least since 1870 when the Church declared the Pope “possessed of that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer wished His Church to be endowed.”
The entire hierarchy of the Catholic Church is at the mercy of the Pope. He appoints bishops and can impose his directives on the lowliest priests and nun.

I hasten to note that the Church was not always totalitarian.  READ MORE

24 States Enacted 92 Abortion Restrictions In 2011

Lawmakers across the nation pursued a record number of reproductive health and rights-related provisions in 2011. Here's a rundown of the worst.
January 8, 2012

Lawmakers across the nation pursued a record number of reproductive health and rights-related provisions in 2011, a new report from the Guttmacher Institute finds, enacting 135 measures in 36 states — “an increase from the 89 enacted in 2010 and the 77 enacted in 2009.” Sixty-eight percent of the provisions — 92 in 24 states — restricted access to abortion services:

Here is a sampling of 2011 in abortion law:  READ MORE

Craig Sonner, George Zimmerman's Lawyer, Reportedly Flees Lawrence O'Donnell Interview (VIDEO)

The Huffington Post
By Peter Finocchiaro
Posted: 03/27/2012 2:08 am 
Updated: 03/27/2012 11:25 am 

In a bizarre turn of events, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell interviewed an empty chair on his program Monday night, after scheduled guest Craig Sonner reportedly fled from an MSNBC studio in Orlando just moments before the show began.

Sonner represents George Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watchman who shot and killed 17-year-old Florida resident Trayvon Martin in February. His appearance on O'Donnell's program would have been just the latest in a string of high-profile media interviews over the past several days, as he's attempted to shift the narrative surrounding the case. In previous conversations, Sonner has continually insisted that the shooting was motivated not by race, but was instead a matter of self-defense -- though the attorney has declined to answer several questions about the specifics of his client's defense.

===================MY OPINION==================>

Several very big problems here.  Lawyer says "grass stains on Zimmerman's shirt",  but Z is wearing a jacket at the time.  

Now I just learn that Zimmerman was wearing his gun fully visible in a holster at his waist.  

Okay,  show of hands,  how many of you would attack an armed stranger?  

Isn't it more likely that you'd attempt to disarm him IF you attacked at all?  
Wouldn't that attempt result in a wrestling match for control of the gun?   So where is the testimony about Martin trying to disarm Zimmerman?  He just walks up,  punches a 340 lb armed stranger,  breaking his nose,  then,  without the slightest concern for the firearm,  he starts smashing the 340lb armed strangers head on the concrete.  YEAH!  RIGHT!  

You couldn't sell that script to N.C.I.S. or C.S.I.!

The open display of a firearm has the expected effect of intimidating people.  It's most effective when the person being confronted,  has no martial arts training at all,  and even then it bodes caution.  Was Trayvon a Navy Seal?  How did we miss that?   Watch the video and learn that bit about the holstered gun!
I'm sure we'll find even more unexpected errata spread over a wide range of missives as this case goes on.